While Democrat legislators are strangely silent on Governor Malloy’s latest attack on teachers and the teaching profession, Republicans in the State Senate, led by State Senator Toni Boucher, the ranking member of the Education Committee is speaking out about Malloy’s bizarre veto of a bill requiring that the Commissioner of Education have some classroom experience.
Apparently Malloy feels that that notion of having to select someone who actually knows something about teachers and what is going on in the classroom would cramp his style, so the governor who will become the leader of the Democratic Governors Association next year vetoed a bill that passed the General Assembly’s Education Committee 32 – 0, the Connecticut State Senate by a vote of 36 -0 and the Connecticut House of Representatives by a vote of 138 – 5.
Through the entire legislative process, only one Democratic legislator voted against the bill (In the State House) and neither Malloy nor his administration ever raised any public opposition to the common sense bill.
Yet another stunningly arrogant action from a politician who will soon be traveling the country urging voters to cast their vote for the Democrats.
Compared the silence of the lambs, the Republican reaction actually sounds like a clarion call to action.
In a press release entitled, “Why Is Governor Malloy Undermining Teachers Again?” Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton), the ranking member of the Education Committee and State Senate Minority leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) quickly released a strong statement yesterday about the Governor’s decision to veto of HB 6977; AN ACT ESTABLISHING QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION.
The two Republican legislators wrote,
“Since taking office in January 2011, Governor Malloy has been highly critical of teachers and retired teachers. Today’s veto of an important measure will surely give them cause for concern.
“The bill simply requires the state education commissioner be a qualified person with a master’s or a higher degree in an education-related field. Additionally, they must have at least five years as a teacher and three years as an administrator in a school or district in Connecticut or another state. Currently, the commissioner is not required to hold a degree or have any experience in education.
“Why would he veto this valid request? Apparently, it ‘restricts’ his authority to pick a new candidate,” said Boucher and Fasano.
When announcing the new commissioner, Dianna Wentzell, Malloy stated: “I made it clear that we were looking from day one for someone who has been a teacher.” Previously, the governor had been criticized by teachers for his prior commissioner, Stefan Pryor, who lacked teaching experience.
Senator Fasano said, “In the words of Queen, another one bites the dust. Governor Malloy is backpedaling on another policy he seemed to support not too long ago. The governor made education experience a priority when searching for his new commissioner, after distancing himself from a previous controversial choice. So why reject a bipartisan effort to ensure that education experience is always a priority?”
Senator Boucher said, “If you recall in in February of 2012 Malloy said in order for teachers to earn tenure, ‘basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours.’ Sadly, the insults continue. We encourage the state board of education and the Governor to at least follow the spirit of this legislation- supported unanimously in the legislature – which sought to bring the highest possible standards to one of the most important positions in our state government. Which requires the depth of experience and knowledge in the field of education. It is important to the future of education in our state.”